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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

UW part of $10 million study on perennial forage systems

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

University of Wyoming (UW) scientists are a part of a multi-state team launching research into perennial forage systems and help promote their adoption.

UW will serve as a research hub site for western states to collect, organize and analyze soil samples.

“We will measure and compare numerous production, environmental, social and economic factors,” said UW Extension Forage Agroecologist Anowar Islam. “UW will play an important role in initiating and executing this highly relevant and timely project.”

The project involves more than 50 researchers and stakeholders from 23 universities, two U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service centers and 12 farmer organizations, industry groups, non-governmental organizations and government agencies, said Islam, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Funding is through a $10 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Prevailing agricultural systems in the U.S. are dominated by annual crop monocultures that lack resilience to extreme weather and are challenged by soil erosion and other environmental issues, said project director Valentin Picasso, associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Agronomy.

“Through this new project, we hope to promote the transformation of the landscape to be more resilient, by integrating more perennial crops and forages with livestock,” he said.

Part of the effort involves a nationwide network of 50 farm pairs – one farm already using diverse perennial forage systems paired with one interested in transitioning toward more diverse perennial systems – that represent all of the major agro-ecoregions of the United States. 

The team will share results through outreach and education materials throughout the five-year term of the award.

UW will also serve as one of the three coordinators with Maryland and New York of the education program to: recruit and instruct high school teachers and summer undergraduate student interns on diverse perennial circular systems, resilience, economic services and economic value; develop curriculum materials for K-12 student education; and partner with local community entities and projects to create learning programs and opportunities.

For more information, contact Islam at or 307-766-4151.

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